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Obesity Shortens Life Expectancy

Steady gains made in improvement in life expectancy may be brought to naught by the increasing waistlines in America. Obesity has become a killer disease and shortening the life expectancy of Americans. A new report by the scientists in The New England Journal of Medicine suggests shortening of life spans by 3 to 5 years.

Obesity is the major cause of many diseases from cardiovascular to diabetes, certain types of cancers, arthritis, high blood pressure and strokes.

With cost of Health care in U.S. being one of the highest in the world, the economic burden to the society is immense.

The U.S. federal government has released the latest dietary guidelines titled 'Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005' strongly recommends that Americans need to exercise more and consume fewer calories.

What are the key elements of the Dietary Guideline?

Consume a variety of nutrient dense foods and beverages from the basic food groups

Avoid or limit foods with saturated fats, added salt & sugars and alcohol.

People over 50 should include supplements of Vitamin B12

Women who may become pregnant should take plant foods high in iron or iron fortified foods with Vitamin C.

Balance intake of calories with the calories expended through physical activities.

For losing weight reduce calories gradually while maintaining a proper nutrition and increasing physical activities.

Overweight adults and children with chronic health conditions should consult a weight management specialist prior to starting a weight reduction program.

Engage in 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity to reduce possibility of chronic disease.

Manage weight or reduce weight with moderate to intense physical activity over and above the normal activities.

Consume variety of fruits and vegetables within the calorie requirements.

Consume a minimum of 3 ounce of whole grain with more coming from enriched and whole grains.

Consume less than 10 % of calories from saturated and fatty acids and less than 300 mg of cholesterol. A total of 30 - 35 % should come from other monounsaturated and poly unsaturated fats such as fish, nuts and oils.

People who consume alcoholic drinks should do so in moderation - defined as one drink a day for women and two for men.

Get the complete guidelines at

The food guideline is prepared taking into account new scientific inputs. The guidelines are clear indicator of imbalance in the diet with too many poor foods with low nutritional values and high stress lives devoid of exercise and physical activities.

United States Department of Health & Human Services has an excellent website with the small steps you can take to lead a healthy lifestyle. Don't forget to download the PDF 'Informational Guide for Parents Regarding Healthy Lifestyle for the Whole Family' at

It is clearly a time to review the food and physical activities and make lifestyle changes now if you are not already a part of the obesity statistics. In addition, if you are obese it is time for a massive action plan for a correction in lifestyles.

This article is copyright © of R.G. Srinivasan a Certified Trainer, Small Business Consultant, Writer and Author. He is a strong proponent of a holistic lifestyle and alternate health practices. Check out his site at


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